Seeing Is Believing

An Essay I made when taking TOK in my IB school.

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Progress Assessment
"Seeing is believing."
To what extent do you agree with this statement? Refer to sense perception
and at least one area of knowledge in your answer
All five senses, tasting, hearing, smelling, touching, and seeing, are important in developing
thoughts and viewpoints. However the sense of sight is usually set above the rest of the senses in
terms of helping someone create strong beliefs. Many times in life the sense of sight is
used to give evidence that will determine what is believed. But is seeing really
believing? How is truth defined? And how do we know that what we perceive is
actually true? In this essay I will be answering these questions as well as discussing
how sense perception relates to some of the areas of knowledge.
Sense perception is the interpretive process in which we develop an awareness of
the external world. It is an important factor in life as much of what we obtain from
the world around us is actually perceived by our senses. The extent to which we can
use sense perception as a way of knowing depends on how limited our senses
actually are. As humans, we have many things going on around us that we may
sometimes unintentionally ignore something without realizing it. Although our
senses are not 100% reliable, we still have to trust them on a daily basis. Our minds
use past experiences to differentiate the things we sense. For example, if we see a
book we automatically know it's a book because we have been taught what a book
looks like at home and in school.
The natural sciences rely heavily on sight in terms of finding evidence to back up
beliefs. For example, when a scientist watches a cell separating through a microscope
he will immediately know that what the cell is doing is called cell division because he
had seen this from previous experiments. However, a scientist could be seeing
something like an altered cell and unintentionally allow his previous knowledge to
interfere with what he is seeing and so assume that what is going on under the
microscope is actually cell division.
Though many people believe that sight is the most important sense, with our eyes
closed we can still manage to identify things. For example, blind people can still make
out things as well as navigate their way because the rest of their senses are stronger
and more dominant than ours. Previous experiences also come handy sometimes,
another example is when you are nowhere near the kitchen and smell smoke, you
immediately know something is burning even though you can't see it. This is because
you have smelt the smell of smoke before and you know that something is burning
when you smell it.
Many years ago, the world was considered to be flat. The belief of a flat world was
engraved in the minds of the people through the education at the time as well

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This belief links to the area of knowledge,
human sciences, because although the scientists of the time made calculations that
proved the earth wasn't flat, people made fun of them for having such an unrealistic
belief. The matter of the earth being round was not completely believed until real
pictures of the earth were taken and shown to the people. Thus meaning that the
acceptance of the earth being round was completed through seeing.…read more


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